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2018 Scottish, Midlands and West of England Regional Championships
Previews & Predictions

Bands will be taking to the stage in Perth, Bedworth and Torquay this weekend to try and book their places at the National Finals. 4BR casts its eye over the contenders to come up with the famous kiss of death predictions...

Regionals

The North West and Yorkshire have come and gone. Now it’s the turn of the bands in the Midlands, Scotland and the West of England to try and qualify for London and Cheltenham.

Contrasting venues

The action at Blackpool and Huddersfield was fascinating - and not just in the Championship Section either. ‘Odyssey’ won’t live long in the musical memory banks it has to be said, but it has done its job, whilst ‘Brass Metamorphosis’ has as expected shone an uncomfortable light on the realistic ambitions of bands seeking to make the step up to the top-flight. 

‘Ex Terra Lucem’, ‘Napoleon on the Alps’ and ‘World Tour’ have been very well pitched though - allowing the best ensembles and soloists to shine as well as encouraging conductors to look beyond basic note bashing.  There have been some cracking performances as a result.

Hopefully that will carry on this weekend at Bedworth, Perth and Torquay – three contrasting venues with their own acoustic peculiarities.  

Excellently run

All three events are excellently run, with the Scottish Brass Band Association, the Midlands and West of England Regional Committees staffed by fantastic teams of volunteers and helpers who work their socks off.  If you are not doing anything for a couple of hours or so, why not offer a helping hand?

4BR will be there to bring you a taste of the action as it all unfolds, so why not log in to find out who will join the ever growing list of qualifiers for the Albert Hall and Cheltenham.


Championship Section:

aLBERT hALL

Scotland: Championship Section
Perth Concert Hall
Sunday 11th March
Draw: 12.30 (commences following 4th Section results)
Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Michael Ball

1. Bathgate (Anne Crookston)
2. Bon Accord Silver (Stephen Malcolm)
3. Bo'ness & Carriden (Lee Skipsey)
4. Co-operative Funeralcare (Russell Gray)
5. Dalmellington (Richard Evans)
6. Kirkintilloch Kelvin (Charles Keenan)
7. Newtongrange Silver (Andrew Duncan)
8. Tullis Russell Mills (Tony George)
9. Whitburn (Prof Nicholas Childs)

If you are looking for anything approaching a sure odds-on bet this weekend for a top section victory, then head to William Hill and put your mortgage payment on the band Prof Nicholas Childs is conducting.

The Welshman has already won with Foden’s and Black Dyke in commanding fashion, so even the most parsimonious supporter of defending Scottish Champion Whitburn should be pretty confident when the pairing takes to the stage on Sunday afternoon, especially as the banding clans around them seem to be in various states of development, decline or even disarray.

The last time there was a successful title defence was back in 2010 when the then Scottish Co-op did it with Russell Gray at the helm. He’s back this time, so you never know - but it would be a surprise. 

If they do not hit form then Dalmellington may be best placed to claim a place at the Albert Hall for the first time since 1981, whilst the solidly improving duo of Bo’ness & Carriden and Bathgate could well feature alongside Newtongrange and our dark horse of Kirkintilloch Kelvin.     

4BR Prediction:
1. Whitburn
2. Co-operative Funeralcare
3. Dalmellington
4. Bo’ness & Carriden
5. Bathgate
6. Newtongrange

Dark Horse: Kirkintilloch Kelvin


Midlands: Championship Section 
Civic Hall 
Sunday 11th March
Draw: 12.30pm (commences following 2nd Section results)
Adjudicators: Steven Mead and Dr. Graham Jones MBE

1. Blidworth Welfare (Simon Oates)
2. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard)
3. Desford Colliery (Mike Fowles)
4. Hathern (David Newman)
5. Jackfield (Simon Platford)
6. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea)
7. Langley (Cliff Parker)
8. Newstead Brass (Jim Davies)
9. Ratby Co-operative (Mareika Gray)
10. Spal Sovereign Brass (Trevor Jones)
11. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
12. Virtuosi GUS (Adam Cooke)

Taking of good bets, Virtuosi GUS is looking to claim an unprecedented fifth Midlands title in Bedworth, and despite some variable form of late, they should still have enough quality to at least return to the Albert Hall for a sixth consecutive year.  

Desford could be the band to beat though after their confidence boost at Butlins earlier in the year under Michael Fowles showed just how good they are with rehearsal miles under their belt. If they have been able to add more of them to the musical odometer then a first Area win since 2012 could be on the cards.

Both bands though could be hard pushed by the improving Thoresby Colliery, whilst Derwent Brass, 2013 champion Jaguar Land Rover and Ratby Co-operative look like potential top-six material with our dark horse of Newstead Brass. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Desford Colliery
2. Virtuosi GUS
3. Thoresby Colliery
4. Derwent Brass
5. Jaguar Land Rover
6. Ratby Co-operative

Dark Horse: Newstead Brass


West of England: Championship Section 
The Forum
Sunday 11th March 
Draw: 12:00 noon (commences not before 2.00pm)
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison and David Roberts

1. Aldbourne (Dr David Thornton)
2. Brunel Brass (Neil Skipper)
3. Camborne Town (Kevin Mackenzie)
4. Filton Concert Brass (Tom Davoren)
5. Flowers (David Childs)
6. Hyde (Jonathan Lush-Camps)
7. Lanner & District Silver (Andrew Berryman)
8. Lydbrook (Glyn Williams)
9. Mount Charles (tbc)
10. St. Austell Town (David Nicholson)
11. St. Dennis (Darren Hawken)
12. Verwood Concert Brass (Kevin Smith)
13. Woodfalls (Dr. Robert Childs)

The Flowers hegemony in Torquay was finally broken last year by Woodfalls, and this year it looks like it could well be a friendly family battle between father and son for the title, as Bob and David Childs lead the fancied duo into action. 

One of them will have to buy the other the celebratory champagne you feel (although the consolation should be a qualification spot).

Flowers were excellent value for their Butlins success and have been building impressively under David Childs in the last year. If they have continued on that upward trajectory then they could win here with a little bit to spare. If not, Woodfalls (who were also very good at Skegness) will surely pounce.

Last year’s runner-up Filton Concert Brass could upset things once more and come off the back of a solid victory at the Welsh Open, whilst Camborne (who can blow hot or cold), and the solid pairing of Aldbourne and Lydbrook could all be battling for a place on the podium with our dark horse of St Austell.

4BR Prediction:
1. Flowers
2. Woodfalls
3. Filton Concert
4. Camborne
5. Aldbourne
6. Lydbrook 

Dark Horse: St Austell


First Section:

Cheltenham

Scotland: First Section
Saturday 10th March
Draw: 2.45pm (commences following 3rd Section results)
Adjudicators: Michael Ball and Mark Wilkinson

1. Arbroath Instrumental (Michael Robertson)
2. Coalburn Silver (Gareth Bowman)
3. Dalkeith & Monktonhall (James Chamberlain)
4. Dunaskin Doon (Chris Bradley)
5. Granite City Brass (Bruce Wallace)
6. Johnstone (Martyn Ramsay)
7. Kingdom Brass (Ian Porthouse)
8. Lochgelly (Paul McKelvie OBE)
9. Newmilns & Galston (Alan Cameron)
10. Unison Kinneil (Raymond Tennant)

There was a fine return for Scotland’s representatives at Cheltenham last year with two top-six finishes, so hopes will be high that the qualifiers can do just as well, or even better.

There are certainly some good quality bands led by experienced MDs here, with the relegated pairing of Kingdom Brass and Unison Kinneil good each-way bets alongside Lochgelly to battle it out for the podium slots.  

The well travelled Johnstone, Granite City and Dunaskin Doon could force themselves into the reckoning alongside our dark horse Arbroath Instrumental if any of the more fancied runners slip up. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Kingdom Brass
2. Unison Kinneil
3. Lochgelly
4. Johnstone
5. Granite City
6. Dunaskin Doon

Dark Horse: Arbroath Instrumental


Midlands First Section:
Civic Hall
Saturday 10th March
Spilt Draw: 10.00am and 12 noon (commences 11.00am)
Adjudicators: Richard Marshall and Major Paul Norley

1. Bedworth Brass (David Maplestone)
2. Bilton Silver (Rugby) (David Stowell)
3. Burbage Buxton (Steve Critchlow)
4. Carlton Brass (Gary Wyatt)
5. Enderby (Simon Gresswell)
6. Foresters Brass (John Davis)
7. Glossop Old (Duncan Beckley)
8. Gresley Colliery (David Purkiss)
9. Harborough (Brad Turnbull)
10. Ibstock Brick Brass (Simon Willis)
11. Kibworth (John Hudson)
12. Leicestershire Co-op (Graham Jacklin)
13. Oddfellows Brass (Rob Boulter)
14. Rushden Town (Adele Hudson)
15. Shirebrook MW Unison (Colum O’Shea)
16. Shirley (David Hirst)
17. Staffordshire (Leigh Baker)
18. Wigston (Chris Small)

Three bands will get the nod from judges Richard Marshall and Major Paul Norley on what promises to be an intriguing metamorphic musical battle. Once again there is plenty of experience at the various helms here, and that may come in handy in a tricky piece that has already caused problems. 

Early season form has been a bit nondescript, with a batch of midfield places claimed at Butlins.  Carlton Brass had a decent run out the NEMBBA contest, whilst Enderby ended last year on a high, even if Butlins was a bit of a disappointment.  

Last year’s winner Foresters Brass and runner-up Rushden Town return once more and should be solid bets to feature once more, whilst Enderby, Bilton Silver (Rugby) and Shirley could be in the mix alongside our dark horse of Staffordshire. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Foresters Brass
2. Carlton Brass
3. Rushden Town
4. Enderby
5. Bilton Silver (Rugby)
6. Shirley

Dark Horse: Staffordshire


West of England: First Section
The Forum
Saturday 10th March
Draw: 1:00pm (commences not before 2:30pm)
Adjudicators: Brett Baker and Stan Lippeatt

1. AW Parker (Drybrook) (Joshua Ruck)
2. Andover Town (Steve Large) 
3. Bodmin Town (John Maines)
4. Bournemouth Concert Brass (Howard Evans)
5. Chalford (Steve Tubb)
6. City of Bristol Brass (Paul McLaughlin)
7. Forest of Dean Brass (Bryn James)
8. Glastonbury Brass (Simon Jones)
9. Michelmersh Silver (Melvin White)
10. Otterbourne Brass (Melvin White)
11. Roche Brass (David Hamilton)
12. Sherborne Town (Ian Lowes)
13. Sidmouth Town (Adrian Harvey)
14. St. Keverne (Gareth Churcher)
15. SW Comms (Chris Spreadbury)
16. Wotton-under-Edge and District (Ian Dickinson)

There is the promise of a cracking contest in Torquay with a plethora of well-matched bands all more than capable of claiming one of the two qualification places on offer.

Last year’s representatives (the returning SW Comms and Bournemouth Concert) ended 8th and 12th in Cheltenham, but you suspect whoever gets through (including them) will fancy their chances of finishing a little bit higher than that come September.

A rejuvenated and promoted Bodmin Town and Chalford (who were fourth last year) could be bands to watch out for come the results, whilst City of Bristol, Michelmersh Silver and Otterbourne Brass all had solid run outs at the recent Oxford contest - as did the impressive winner AW Parker (Drybrook).  Our dark horse is Forest of Dean Brass. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Bournemouth Concert
2. AW Parker (Drybrook)
3. City of Bristol
4. SW Comms
5. Michelmersh Silver
6. Chalford

Dark Horse: Forest of Dean Brass


Second Section:

Cheltenham

Scotland: Second Section
Saturday 10th March
Pre-drawn (commences 9.30am)
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Anne Crookston

1. Annan Town (Paul Drury)
2. Broxburn & Livingston (John Boax)
3. Campbeltown Brass (Paul Kiernan)
4. Croy Silver (Kenneth Blackwood)
5. Clackmannan District (Paul McKelvie OBE)
6. Jedforest Instrumental (Phil Rosier)
7. Renfrew Burgh (Mark Good)
8. Shotts St. Patrick's (Ray Munday)
9. St. Ronan's Silver (Alan Fernie)
10. Irvine & Dreghorn (Scott Kerr)
11. St. David's Brass (John A. Dickson)

Mark Wilkinson and Anne Crookston could be faced with a difficult task on Saturday morning as eleven evenly matched bands line up on Jonathan Bates’ engaging test-piece.  

Last year’s representatives came 3rd and 15th at Cheltenham, but whoever gets through should travel with confidence, with the likes of Scottish Challenge Shield winner Clackmannan District perhaps the band to beat. 

Shotts St Patrick and Renfrew Burgh look like strong contenders with Broxburn & Livingston, whilst promoted Irvine & Dreghorn, Campbeltown Brass and our dark horse of St Ronan’s Silver could be there or thereabouts.  

4BR Prediction:
1. Clackmannan District
2. Shotts St Patrick
3. Renfrew Burgh
4. Broxburn & Livingston
5. Irvine & Dreghorn
6. Campbeltown Brass

Dark Horse: St Ronan’s Silver


Midland: Second Section
Civic Hall
Sunday 11th March
Spilt Draw: 9.30am and 11.00am (commences 10.30am)
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill and Chris King

1. Avonbank (Evesham) (Colin Hogg)
2. Bakewell Silver (Jim Henson)
3. City of Coventry (Stephen Cooper)
4. Daventry Brass (Ken Ewer)
5. Foss Dyke (Michael Howley)
6. Hucknall and Linby MC (Paul Whyley)
7. Ireland Colliery Chesterfield (Lindon Bolt)
8. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell)
9. Stourport-on-Severn (Oliver Wilson)
10. Tintwistle (Sarah Groarke-Booth)

Just ten bands for adjudicators Ian Brownbill and Chris King to compare and contrast on Sunday morning, but more than a generous handful that could certainly push their way through to claim a qualification place or even the title itself. 

Only City of Coventry tested the waters in Butlins and got their toes cold, although Hucknall & Linby, Rolls Royce (Derby) and Bakewell Silver came away from the NEMBBA contest with their confidence boosted.  

Foss Dyke will look to make an immediate return to Cheltenham (where they came 11th last year), whilst Avonbank (Evesham) and dark horse Tintwistle could be in with a fair old shout too.  

4BR Prediction:
1. Foss Dyke
2. Hucknall & Linby
3. Bakewell Silver
4. Rolls Royce (Derby)
5. City of Coventry
6. Avonbank (Evesham)

Dark Horse: Tintwistle


West of England: Second Section
The Forum
Saturday 10th March
Draw: 8:30am (commences 9:30am)
Adjudicators: David Roberts and Duncan Stubbs OBE

1. Bream Silver (Philip Turner)
2. Camborne Junior Contesting (Alan Pope BEM)
3. Cheltenham Silver (Nigel Galliott)
4. Cinderford (Chris Howley)
5. Corsham (Colin Hogg)
6. Denmead Brass (Estelle Flood)
7. Downton (Paul Williams)
8. Helston Town (John Berryman)
9. Midsomer Norton & Radstock Silver (Steve Sykes)
10. Pendennis Brass (Kevin Ackford)
11. Phoenix Brass (Crewkerne) (Gary Greenstock)
12. Poole Borough (Phil Randall)
13. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
14. Soundhouse Brass (Lee Clayson)
15. St Pinnock (David Johnson)
16. Weston Brass (Ceri Thomas)

The West of England invariably sends strong contenders to the National Final, and last year’s trio (only two go this year) came 5th, 9th and 12th. 

A hard one to call as you look through the list of competitors, with the likes of Helston looking to make an immediate Cheltenham return, as will the promoted Cheltenham Silver (who won the Third Section here last year).  

Another year of musical maturity could well bear fruit for Camborne Junior Contesting, whilst the solid looking Poole Borough, Cinderford, Downton and Bream Silver look like potential contenders alongside our dark horse of Cheltenham Silver.    

4BR Prediction:
1. Helston Town
2. Camborne Junior Contesting
3. Poole Borough
4. Cinderford
5. Downton
6. Bream Silver

Dark Horse: Cheltenham Silver


Third Section:

Cheltenham

Scotland: Third Section
Saturday 10th March
Pre-drawn (commences following 2nd Section results)
Adjudicators: Paul Holland and Michael Alcorn                        

1. Brass Sounds Inverclyde (Chris Mansfield)
2. Buckhaven & Methil Miners (David Neil)
3. Dunfermline Town (Andy Shaw)
4. Dysart Colliery (Kenneth Letham)
5. Langholm Town (Chris Shanks)
6. MacTaggart Scott Loanhead (Craig Savage)
7. Newmains & District (Michael Marzella)
8. Peebles Burgh (Peter Holmes)
9. Perthshire Brass (George D. Annan)
10. Selkirk Silver (Stuart Black)

The Scots have always enjoyed teaming up with their French counterparts, so this ‘Vielle Alliance’ should prove to be an enjoyable romp across the topographical musical challenges of the Napoleonic Alps.

Plenty of directional experience at the helm of some solid looking contenders, with the 2017 Fourth Section National Champion in Newmains & District promoted and keen to make another historic mark.  

Buckhaven & Methil and Brass Sounds Inverclyde may have something to say about that, as could the promoted Dysart Colliery and the relegated duo of Perthshire Brass and Selkirk Brass. Our dark horse is MacTaggart Scott Loanhead.

4BR Prediction:
1. Newmains & District
2. Buckhaven & Methil
3. Brass Sounds Inverclyde
4. Dysart Colliery
5. Perthshire Brass
6. Selkirk Brass

Dark Horse: MacTaggart Scott Loanhead


Midlands: Third Section
Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College
Saturday 10th March
Draws: 10.00am and 12.00 noon (commences 11.00am)
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill and Chris King

1. Amington (Alan Gifford)
2. Arrow Valley Brass (Andy Culshaw)
3. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock)
4. Brackley & District (Micah Parsons)
5. Cleobury Mortimer Concert Brass (David Maplestone)
6. Corby Silver (Catherine Fountain)
7. Cubbington Silver (Mark Phillips)
8. Long Eaton Silver Prize (Sharon Stansfield)
9. Market Rasen (David Dernley)
10. Matlock (Geoff Hawley)
11. Newhall (Kevin Holdgate)
12. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Geof Benson)
13. Raunds Temperance (Jayne Murrill)
14. Shirland Welfare (Lynden Cooper)
15. Towcester Studio (Paul Fensom)
16. Trentham Brass (Mike Cavaney)
17. Wellington (Telford) (Mark Parry)

Three bands will go through to the National Final from what looks likely to be a highly competitive battle at the Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College on Saturday.

Last year’s qualifiers ended as solid top-ten finishers in Cheltenham, so whoever gets the nod from Ian Brownbill and Chris King will both deserve it and travel south in September as confident challengers.   

Shirland Welfare has been in good form of late with a solid performance at Butlins and a victory at the NEMBBA contest, whilst Market Rasen and Long Eaton Silver enjoyed run-outs there. Towcester Studio and Wellington (Telford) could be in the mix, whilst the relegated Raunds Temperance and the competitive Cubbington Silver could force their way into the reckoning. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Shirland Welfare
2. Towcester Studio
3. Wellington (Telford)
4. Raunds Temoerance
5. Cubbington Silver
6. Market Rasen

Dark Horse: Long Eaton Silver


West of England: Third Section
The Arena
Saturday 10th March
Draw: 9:00am (commences 10:00am)
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison and John Winterflood

1. Bath Spa (Martin Perry)
2. Bratton Silver (Simon Carr)
3. Bugle Silver (Steve Osborne)
4. Gillingham Imperial Silver (James Bennett)
5. Hatherleigh Silver (Matt Green)
6. Indian Queens (Mark Arnold)
7. Lydney Town (Kevin Ford) 
8. New Forest Brass (Ian Luxford)
9. Ocean Brass (Martin Humphries)
10. Pillowell Silver (Ian Whitburn) 
11. Porthleven Town (Tom Bassett)
12. Saltash Town (tbc)
13. South Molton Town (Gil Taylor)
14. St. Stythians (James Burns)
15. Swindon Brass (Francis Cowley)
16. Swindon Pegasus (Steve Yorke)
17. Tewkesbury Town (Nigel Morgan)
18. Weymouth Concert Brass (Adam Glynn)

There is sure to be a colourful battle on show in the Third Section on Saturday morning, with the experienced pairing of Alan Morrison and John Winterflood (who took the Queen’s shilling himself) sitting back and enjoying the Napoleonic music making from 18 keen contenders.

Picking a winner could be one heck of task though, and there are lots of bands full of promise all keen to get to Cheltenham but little early season form to go on if you wish to put a pound on a fancied runner. 

Bath Spa and the promoted Hatherleigh (who won the Fourth Section in splendid fashion last year) could be bands to listen out for, whilst Gillingham Imperial, Pillowell Silver and the relegated Ocean Brass may be worth a few bob or two as an each way bet along with the offer of a successful contest prayer to St Stythians and our dark horse of Tewkesbury Town. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Hatherleigh Silver
2. Bath Spa
3. Gillingham Imperial
4. Pillowell Silver
5. Ocean Brass
6. St Stythians

Dark Horse: Tewkesbury Town


Fourth Section:

Cheltenham

Scotland: Fourth Section
Sunday 11th March
Pre-drawn (commences 9.30am)
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson and Michael Alcorn                            

1. Barrhead Burgh (David Henderson)
2. Bon Accord Silver 'B' (Jennifer Cook)
3. Callander Brass (Ian Milligan)
4. Dundee Instrumental (Robert McDonald)
5. Forfar Instrumental (Terrence Jackson)
6. Hawick Saxhorn (David Robb)
7. Highland Brass (Mark Bell)
8. Kilmarnock Concert (Scott Walker)
9. Newland Concert (Paul McKelvie OBE)
10. Penicuik Silver (Stuart Black)
11. Queensferry Community Brass (James Anderson)
12. Stranraer Brass (Angela Miller)
13. WhItburn Heartlands (Ian Fleming)

Section 4B:
Sunday 11th March
Pre-drawn (commences following 4th Section performances)
Adjudicator: John Boax

1. Granite City Community Brass (Alex Dawson)
2. Coalburn Intermediate (David Fehilly)

There was a time when the Scottish Fourth Section was struggling to even get a competitive quorum and had little hope of sending any bands down to the National Finals with a chance of coming home anything other than empty handed. Now look at them – 13 cracking outfits all keen as mustard.  

All that and the great initiative of inviting non-competitive bands continues to sow the seeds for future success, with Granite City Community Brass and Coalburn making welcome appearances.  

Newmains fantastic victory (with Dysart Colliery a solid 7th) gave the whole of Scottish banding a boost, as well as the confidence to go down south and do it all again. 

Some tasty outfits could do just if they play to form, with the relegated duo of Barrhead Burgh and Whitburn Heartlands our pick to proudly fly the Saltaire in Cheltenham. 

They could be hard pushed though by the improving Dundee Instrumental, Penicuik Silver, Bon Accord Silver ‘B’ and Kilmarnock Concert alongside our dark horse of Highland Brass. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Whitburn Heartlands   
2. Barrhead Burgh
3. Bon Accord Sliver B
4. Dundee Instrumental
5. Penicuik Silver
6. Kilmarnock Silver 
    
Dark Horse: Highland Brass


Midlands: Fourth Section
Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College
Sunday 11th March
Draws: 10.00am and 12.00 noon (commences 11.00am)
Adjudicators: Richard Marshall and Major Paul Norley

1. Bestwood Welfare Black Diamonds (tba)
2. Bilton Silver (Evolution) (Jack Fisher)
3. City of Birmingham (Ben Hewlett-Davies)
4. City of Wolverhampton (George Draycott)
5. Coventry Festival (Allan Wheelhouse)
6. Croft Silver (Ian Needham)
7. Dunchurch (Paul Whitmore)
8. Fairfield (Buxton) (Charles Kitchen)
9. Ilkeston Brass (Geoff Hawley)
10. Kirkby Colliery Welfare (Neville Buxton)
11. Malvern Hills District (Chris License)
12. Melton (Graham Sutton)
13. Moulton ’77 (Colin Jones)
14. Newark Town (Rupert Trippett)
15. Porthywaen Silver (Dougie Graham)
16. Ratby Co-operative Mid (David Purkiss)
17. Sherwood Forest Brass (Christine Lippeatt)
18. Shipston Town (Howard Gibbs)
19. Skegness Silver (Steve Walker)
20. Stamford Brass (Julian Bright)
21. Syston (Gary Smallwood)
22. University of Warwick (Simon Hogg)
23. Wem Jubilee (tbc)
24. Whitwell Brass (Ryan Stacey)

A fantastic field of 24 bands takes to the stage this year (up three from 2017) for what is sure to be a highly enjoyable contest.

There are some serious contenders for title honours on show - led by the reigning Butlins Champion, Stamford Brass, who will surely be looking to make it a 2018 ‘double’ under MD Julian Bright.  Sherwood Forest Brass and Whitwell put in solid performances at Skegness and may well feature in and around the top-six, whilst Ilkeston enjoyed a decent run-out at the recent NEMBBA contest.

Last year’s runner-up Fairfield (Buxton) returns once more, whilst last year’s top-six finishers of Ratby Co-operative Mid, City of Wolverhampton and Shipston Town will once again look to feature come the announcement of the results.  Our dark horse is Porthywaen Silver.

4BR Prediction:
1. Stamford Brass
2. Fairfield (Buxton)
3. City of Wolverhampton
4. Ratby Co-operative Mid
5. Ilkeston
6. Shipston Town

Dark Horse: Porthywaen Silver


West of England: Fourth Section 
The Forum
Sunday 11 March
Draw: 8:00am (commences 9:00am)
Adjudicators: Brett Baker and John Winterflood

1. Bideford Town (Mark Durham)
2. Chalford Academy (Steve Tubb)
3. Exeter Railway (Graham Eaton)
4. Gosport Solent Brass (Colin Garner)
5. Nailsworth Silver (Steve Ruck)
6. Okehampton Excelsior Silver (Robert Julian)
7. Pendeen Silver (Pascal Eicher)
8. Redruth Town (Keith Anderson)
9. Shaftesbury Town Silver (Martin Hill)
10. Shanklin Town (IoW) (Malcolm Lewis)
11. Test Valley Brass (John Heritage)
12. Tiverton Town (John Fitton)
13. Torbay Brass (Gareth Davies)
14. Verwood Town (Emma Button)
15. Wincanton Silver (Steve Sykes)

4BR has enjoyed some fantastic Fourth Section contests here over the past few years (it will be a long time before we forget the Harry James trumpeter on ‘The Journal of Phileas Fogg’) so it’s a bit of a mystery that numbers are down this time to just 15 bands.

Perhaps we will find out more when we get to Torquay, but hopefully the reduction in quantity has not impinged on the quality - because it’s invariably very good. 

Last year’s contest was a case in point, with three excellent bands getting though to Cheltenham where they eventually ended up 6th, 12th and 15th. Not a bad return, but some of these contenders will surely fancy their chances of doing a little better.

Of those, the returning Shanklin Town making their trip over from the Isle of Wight could be the band to beat as they seek   an immediate qualification return, whilst Exeter Railway or Wincanton Silver may join them. Test Valley Brass, Okehampton Excelsior Silver and Verwood Town should be in with a shout, whilst Chalford Academy is our dark horse. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Shanklin Town
2. Wincanton Silver
3. Exeter Railway
4. Okehampton Excelsior Silver
5. Test Valley Brass
6. Verwood Town  

Dark Horse: Chalford Academy 



Enderby Band - Enderby Band Christmas Concert

Monday 17 December • Enderby Church. Corner of Leicester Lane/Blaby Road. Enderby. Leicestershire LE19 4AR


Foden's Band - Little Lever High School

Tuesday 18 December • Little Lever High School ,Church Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1BT


The Wigston Band - The Wigston Band Christmas Concert

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Thursday 20 December • St Alfege Church. 3 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ


The Wigston Band -

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Haslingden & Helmshore Brass Band

December 18 • Haslingden & Helmshore, North West 1st Section Brass Band. . MD Mr. Simon Cowen (Principal Trombone with RLPO) . Require 2 front row Cornet players & Percussionist to complete the band. . A very sensible mix of engagements with rehearsals every Tuesday 8pm


Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band

December 18 • We have a vacancy for a Soprano and BBb Bass to complete the line up for the areas. Nice Schilke Sop sat waiting for the right person! The band currently competes in the 2nd Section and has a full program of concerts and contests.


The Corsham Band

December 18 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.


Alan Duguid

BA (Hons), PGDipMus, PGCE
Conductor, Composer, Adjudicator (ABBA)